Many residents of Allegheny County are likely aware of the Hepatitis C outbreak affecting individuals throughout the nation apparently due to the actions of one individual employed at several medical facilities. A total of 32 patients at the hospital appear to have been infected due to actions the man took. In addition to a hospital in Pennsylvania, the man was also employed as a medical technician at Exeter Hospital located in New Hampshire.
The infected patients allegedly contracted the disease as a result of the man's abuse of the drug fentanyl. It is believed that he obtained the opiate meant for others by diverting it via syringe. This in turn reportedly led to the patients contracting the disease he had. The man is facing criminal charges in the cases.
That is not the only legal matter that has arisen in conjunction with this matter however. As a result of the injuries suffered by patients due to the actions of the former technician, civil lawsuits have been filed, thus far, a total of 26. In addition to Exeter Hospital, five other agencies have been named as defendants in the New Hampshire cases.
The basis of the lawsuits is that the defendants are liable for the actions taken by the man which led to the Hepatitis C infections. Several of those defendants are staffing agencies presumably that had something to do with the man's placement. They allegedly did not look into previous allegations of drug abuse tied to the technician. The damages sought are currently unknown.
As at least 12 other patients located around the country, including Pennsylvania, have been found to have contracted the same strain of the disease as the former technician, these will likely not be the only cases filed. We will provide updates on these cases and any others that may arise as they become available.
Source: Sea Coast Online, "Exeter Hospital denies liability in hep C case," Aaron Sanborn, Feb. 1, 2013